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President's column: Finding ways to give back during tough economic times

The poor economy is on everyone’s mind, including last year’s medical students, who graduated with an average debt of $174,000 each. While many unknowns remain, we do know that Minnesota is facing a historic budget shortfall, which will affect the Medical School as well.

With the faltering economy and increasing tuition costs, the need for scholarship support has never been greater. For some alumni, making a financial contribution that benefits our students is still possible. If this is the case for you, please consider contributing at In the last fiscal year, 626 medical students at the University received more than $1.8 million in scholarships, with much of that support coming from alumni.

Of course, there are other ways you can support today’s medical students. For example, consider being a mentor. Each student-and-mentor pair decides how often they want to connect, which could range from phone conversations once or twice a year to monthly meetings. This year, we had so much student interest in our Connections Physician-Student Mentoring Program that we didn’t have enough mentors to go around. With thousands of alumni in the metro area, I believe we should be able to meet this need.

You can also sign up for our summer preceptorship program, through which a medical student who is interested in your specialty would shadow you for three weeks. If you would like to take part in either of these efforts, please contact the Medical Alumni Society at or 800-922-1663.

On a final note, I would like to publicly recognize Medical School Dean Deborah Powell for all she has done to advance medical education at the University. Dr. Powell’s plans for the constantly evolving future of medical education have been innovative and insightful, and I believe her promotion of a flexible, competency-based model has taken medical education in a positive direction. I’d also like to thank Dean Powell for lending advice to our Medical Alumni Society board as we have taken a more active role in student and alumni activities. Dr. Powell has been a friend and supportive colleague since she first arrived, and I would like to personally thank her for her many contributions to the Medical School and our greater community.

Martin J. Stillman, M.D., J.D., F.C.L.M.
Class of 1997
President, Medical Alumni Society

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